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Monday Main Stage: Centering Community Voice & Collaboration: A Vibrant and Thriving Detroit for All

Four headshots with different backgrounds and circles behind them and names at the bottom.

Join us for our opening main stage event on Monday evening with a slate of dynamic and thought-provoking local leaders as we explore the challenges, opportunities and impacts of community-based philanthropy through the lens of Detroit. Founding Editor of Bridge Detroit and host of Detroit Today, Stephen Henderson, will facilitate a candid conversation with local Detroiters, taking us beyond the headlines to share stories about the people, places, growth and challenges of Michigan’s largest city and Metro Detroit. Anika Goss of Detroit Future City, Eric Larson of Detroit Downtown Partnership, and Angela Reyes of Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation will discuss cross-sector collaborations that have helped to advance economic development, equitable access to green spaces, education opportunities, talent growth and more.

Together, we will learn what’s propelling the city’s progress, equity-centered challenges and philanthropy’s roles in informing, investing and guiding community solutions. 

This must-see event will offer critical lessons and inspire ideas that can help us identify opportunities for foundations and nonprofit partners across the state to explore that advance community-centered work that fosters a sense of belonging for all.


Eric Liu – a Civic Expert, Renowned Author and the CEO of Citizen University– is coming to the CMF Annual Conference Main Stage! 

Eric Liu's headshot, Eric is wearing a purple button down collared shirt and wearing glasses. He also has dark hair.

“To love country means to rise above I am because I am. It is to recognize that I am because we are.” -Eric Liu



Join us on Election Day for this powerful and inspiring main stage conversation featuring Eric Liu, a university and civic scholar, author and CEO and co-founder of Citizen University, on the flow of power and the value of civic engagement. In a message of hope, as well as a call to action, Liu will share how we can rehumanize our political landscape and lead with a commitment to each other to show up as engaged citizens with joy and love and in support of our shared civic ideals for a more prosperous and equitable future. Together, we will explore the roles we can play to create connection and fellowship with the communities we serve, in our workplaces and our own lives. In examining the institutional realities of racism and injustice, we’ll discuss what it takes to build a healthy democracy and the agency we each have to affect systemic and transformative change.

About Eric

University and civic “evangelist” Eric Liu is the co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, which works to build a culture of powerful and responsible citizenship in the United States. He is also the founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship & American Identity Program. Liu is the author of numerous acclaimed books, including most recently, You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen and Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy — a New York Times New & Notable Book. He is featured in the PBS documentary American Creed and is a contributing writer at The Atlantic.

Liu served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and the President’s deputy domestic policy adviser. He was later appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service. In 2020, Liu was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he serves on its Trust and is co-chair of its Our Common Purpose Commission on democratic citizenship. He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School and a member of the Yale University Council. Liu and his family live in Seattle, where he has served on the boards of the Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Board of Education and co-founded the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

Images of Eric Lui's book covers with the titles of "You're more powerful than you think" and "Become America"


john a. powell – An Internationally Renowned Expert in Civil Rights, Structural Racism, Democracy and More – is Coming to the CMF Annual Conference Main Stage on Tuesday, November 7, beginning at 6:30 pm!

A professional headshot of john powell, wearing a black suit jacket and dark purple buttondown shirt, smiling at the camera

john a. powell, (who spells his name in lowercase in the belief that we should be "part of the universe, not over it, as capitals signify") serves as the director, Othering and Belonging Institute and professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

“The human condition is one about belonging. We simply cannot thrive unless we are in relationship.” - john a. powell 

On the Main Stage: Building Bridges of Belonging

john a. powell, an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, structural racism, housing, poverty and democracy, will join us on the main stage at the CMF 51st Annual Conference in Detroit. 
Illuminating our conference theme of belonging and facing the challenges of equity and systemic racism, john will help us examine how we can tap into our shared humanity to bridge differences and embrace authentic and transformational relationships to foster belonging in the communities we serve. john's powerful work provides a roadmap for our collective future in overcoming systemic and structural racism - “othering” through an equity lens. 
john will be joined by Angelique Power, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation, to discuss challenges and opportunities for our community of philanthropy to help create and contribute to an equitable, vibrant and inclusive Michigan where all thrive. 
We are delighted to welcome john a. powell to the main stage on Tuesday, November 7!

About john 

john is the Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. This research institute brings together scholars, community advocates, communicators and policymakers to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just and sustainable society and to create transformative change toward a more equitable world. 

john led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to education, health, health care and employment and is well-known for his work developing the frameworks of “targeted universalism” (universal goals for all with targeted strategies to also effectively support marginalized communities) and “othering and belonging” to effect equity-based interventions.  

Ahead of the keynote, we invite you to explore john's latest book, Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society. In this book, john provides an outline for laying claim to our shared humanity and a way toward healing ourselves and securing our future. 

Racing To Justice Book cover with a white background in the top third and two thirds of the cover is black with white text

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, CMF's 51st Annual Conference

On the Main Stage: Advancing Public-Private Partnerships for a Thriving, More Equitable Michigan 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is coming to the CMF Annual Conference Main Stage!

In keeping with our tradition of engagement with State leadership at the Annual Conference, CMF is welcoming Michigan’s 49th Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, to the conference main stage to speak to the power of effective and innovative public-private partnerships. She will offer insights on the important collaboration of Michigan philanthropy and state government to serve the children and families of our state. 

The Governor will join the celebration of a key public-private partnership in Michigan philanthropy with the 20th anniversary of The Governor’s Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL). The nonpartisan OFL identifies and brokers innovative funding partnerships and strategic collaborations between the executive branch of state government and philanthropy, having served three administrations, including Governor Whitmer’s executive office. 

Headshots for our member panel with conference branding and circles behind the headshots. Titles and member panel names below the headshot.

On the Main Stage: Exploring Michigan Philanthropy’s Role in Fostering Communities of Belonging

A panel dialogue featuring a cadre of outstanding leaders in our Michigan community of philanthropy is coming to the CMF Annual Conference Main Stage!

Join this candid conversation as a group of your peers from across the state share what fostering communities of belonging means to them and in their work. Together, they will reflect on the challenges and successes in their own organizations’ efforts to widen their circles and engage and partner with nonprofits, community members, other local leaders and beyond. They will share their perspectives on the roles Michigan philanthropy can play to foster communities of belonging, where all are valued and welcomed, to help bridge polarizing divides and authentically build relationships, with community voice at the center.

This main stage event will feature:

  • Khalilah Burt Gaston, executive director of the Song Foundation
  • Darin McKeever, president and CEO of the William Davidson Foundation and CMF Trustee
  • Shannon Polk, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
  • Sakura Takano, CEO of Rotary Charities of Traverse City
  • Daniel Williams, president and CEO of the Steelcase Foundation
  • Faye Alexander Nelson, director of Michigan Programs at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and CMF Trustee, serving as the panel facilitator

This main stage conversation on Wednesday, November 8 is an essential part of our community of philanthropy’s shared equity journey, building on our continued engagement together around equity, inclusion and diversity in a powerful experience that invites Michigan philanthropy into conversation and further readies us for the journey ahead.